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C. Alley O'malley

I started seeing Calley around the welding shop I work at back in July. She pretty much ignored me. She would catch mice in the scrap pile and carry them to her home, across the alley and under a shed. I decided she looked too skinny so I started leaving food and fresh water in the scrap pile. After only a couple days of feeding her, she would be there everyday to greet me when I got to work. She let me pet her and you could feel all of her little bones. She was starving. So of course I heaped her food dish and started giving her canned food too. After a couple weeks of feeding her, she brought her kittens out. (I had no idea she was nursing kittens) I decided to do the TNR (trap, neuter, release) thing with her. When I saw that the kittens were eating solid food, I made an appointment and got her fixed and shots and then I brought her back to her kittens and let her go. A couple weeks after that she and the kittens disappeared. It drove me crazy wondering and worrying about her. She came back after 5 days but I didn't see the kittens. I brought her to the vet to make sure she didn't have any fleas worms mites or ticks and then I took her home. A week or so after I brought Calley home, the kittens came back and took up residence in the scrap pile. I continued to feed them until the city animal control showed up. I don't know who called them but it was for the best. I live trapped them and they were taken to a no kill shelter that has a barn cat program. They were wild and wouldn't let anyone touch them. It was their best option. Calley or Cal O Mal as I call her, is my sweet baby. She's living life like a pampered princess should. I already had 2 cats and I wasn't looking for a 3rd, but she stole my heart.

Anonymous
GF, ND

The Red King

Ever since I got a new job last summer and moved into a new apartment, I've been looking to adopt a cat. Growing up in a house that always had cats, life just wasn't the same when you live alone with no pets.

Therefore, last weekend, after months of online searching and constantly checking the nearby Petsmart and Petco, I finally made a two hour trip to visit an young orange tabby kitten. His info said that he had been left in a box in the pouring rain as a two week old kitten. The other kitten who was in the box didn't make it, but this orange tabby did. He ended up being bottle fed and has a little tear on his ear, perhaps from the cold as a baby. When I got there, I knew he was the one for me.

As a six month old kitten, he's enjoying his new home and already eating me out of house and home. His favorite hobbies include playing with the laser light, dragging around his favorite little hedgehog toy, playing hide 'n' seek under the entertainment center, having the ability to sound like a bird when he cries, licking people's feet, jumping on the bed when his mom is making it and pretending it's a trampoline, and waking up his mom and dad in the middle of the night by stepping on their heads.

I'm so glad he loves it here! He's the "purr-fect" addition to my small apartment. Meet Rory. (Meaning: The Red King)

Kalina
Appleton, WI

Bovver, you beauty!

I had been on to my partner for months about getting another feline friend for our darling Lola (almost 3 years old now). He wasn't keen on the idea but the day I brought Bovver home, he fell in love with our new baby boy.

Bovvers mother(Molly) was merely a kitten when my cousin rescued her from the scrap yard and took her in. And it didn't take long before she realized Molly was pregnant! She amazingly birthed 5 gorgeous kittens. Unfortunately the property contained a number of dogs and other dangers, and Molly (a little feral) seemed intent on taking her kittens outside. With huge concern that the worst was to happen to her kittens, my cousin was at a loss of what to do. They couldn't afford vaccinations, let alone enough food for now 6 felines. That's when she got hold of me and I contacted the center I adopted Lola from. I was a bit of a "middle man" between the two, constantly taking photos, spending time with the kittens and reporting back to the amazing rescue crew. And I managed to convince them to take in Molly and her 5 beautiful babies. However, one of the kittens stole my heart completely.

The idea of him waiting for his forever home broke me. And that's when I decided to take him home (unbeknown to my partner at the time).

Bovver has become a huge part of our family, a great companion to us and our other cat. And I am so pleased to say that his three sisters, brother and mother have found their forever homes, all desexed, microchipped and vaccinated.

We now have two rescue cats, and though the road has been paved with hurdles (behavioural & medically), we wouldn't have it any other way.

Anonymous
Auckland, New Zealand

My Cat Chippy: Learning to trust

In high school, it was hard for me to trust people; I was bullied, teased and gossiped about. This caused me to become severely depressed and later develop anxiety issues. I knew I needed a best friend; the kind with fur and whiskers! I went into a pet store to buy fish food and other aquatic pet needs when I came across a small adoption center. After not having a cat for many years ( my previous fur baby died when I was 12 years old) I was falling head over paws when I saw Chip. At the time, his name was Little One. His story will break your heart.

Chippy was a feral cat who was captured, along with his mother and siblings. The abuser killed the mother and siblings and tortured Chip by burning his tongue, trying to poison him and shooting him in the leg with a pellet gun, which left him having permanent nerve damage. After he was rescued by a nice woman (who unfortunately had too many cats) she gave him to the adoption center. I begged my mom for days until she finally gave in. I decided to call him Chip, because his ear is clipped from the TNR program. Chip was a nervous wreck naturally when he first got to my house. However, he soon learned to trust me and realized I was going to be his best friend until his last days on this Earth. Through him, I realized that not everyone is out to harm you, and its okay to trust people. We learned to trust and invite people in who want to care and love. Chippy is truly my best friend and has changed my life.

Kyla Stan
East Meadow, NY

Willow

It was the year 2000 and I decided that I wanted a furry roommate. We had always had dogs but I decided on a cat since I worked odd hours and lived in an apartment. I went to the local shelter with a very specific cat in mind. It had to be male and I didn't want an all white, all black or an orange cat. These things I knew for sure! As I looked at all the available cats, I spoke to each one in turn. As I looked in one cage, there sat an orange female named Ruth so properly with her little white paws just so and I poked my finger in her cage as I had been doing and said hello. She swiped at me with one of those perfect white feet and I said, "With an attitude like that, no one is ever going to take you home!" Needless to say, I couldn't forget about that cat. All the things I didn't want! I went back the next day and brought her home with me and changed her name to Willow. She taught me what living with a cat means and I couldn't have loved her any more! In September of 2014 she became very ill very quickly and I had to say goodbye to my beautiful ginger kitty. She was the first pet that was ever just mine and I miss her every single day.

Anonymous
Rome, NY

Who rescued Who?

One year ago this week, I went to the local rescue adoption that comes to our local Pet store every Saturday. When I arrived they had all the cats in their crates waiting to be set up. I noticed the sweetest little kitty looking at me from the holes in the little pink carrier. I put my finger in tentatively and she immediately rubbed on my finger. As they set up the booth my eyes kept being drawn to the adorable little grey/white sweetie. They moved her to the wire crate and she definitely was paying as much attention to me as I was to her. Her name was Annie and she was very affectionate and upon opening her cage she immediately started loving on me. When they finished putting the signs on the cages I noticed that her sign mentioned health problems. Annie had severe stomatitis and her teeth were rotting in her mouth. This caused really hideous breath. She had been on antibiotics and steroids many times in her short 2 yr old life. Because she had been in 4 foster homes and returned from 2 adoptions she was not receiving the kind of medical attention she needed. Immediately I felt a kinship with Annie because just like her I had to deal with pain everyday. After lots of debate I knew there was no way I could walk away. What a sweetie, and what a joy to my life. When she arrived at our home she could only take a few bites of food before shaking her head and waiting until her pain subsided. We renamed her Danearys/Dany after the Mother of Dragons (dragon breath) from Game of Thrones. After about a month she had all her back teeth pulled. What a huge difference- she has gone from almost 6lbs to 8lbs. She can eat with no pain now and she is the most lovable little one ever! And best of all NO bad breath!

Sabrina
Valencia, CA

In Praise of Special Needs Dogs

Beth found the tiny pup injured by the highway. She and Dave cared enough to invest a couple hundred dollars in a Vet check. Then they needed to find a home for the little one. And so Peaches came to join our family. For several weeks her brain injury caused compulsive circling, partial blindness and deafness, and a dragging foreleg. She gradually improved, until now, a year later, she has become the happiest, busiest little dog I have ever known, and a welcome member of our 5 rescue dog "pack".

Her habitual circling has now become an endearing dance. When excited she hops and spins like a little furry dervish. Her perceptual problems usually don't cause difficulty, although she does have a tendency to get disoriented during our high desert back country walks, so I'm kept on my toes watching for her. She more then holds her own in "chase-n-wrassle" games, even with dogs much larger then she. Peaches is also the honorary "mom" to the new kitten.

Peaches is not the first "special needs" dog in our family. Some years ago I was blessed with the companionship of Ruckus, who spent the last half of his long life in blindness. Despite this, he was always an enthusiastic back country walker, getting along by listening for my footsteps, the bell on my walking stick, and occasional verbal warnings of obstacles.

As a lifelong adopter of rescue and "pound" dogs, I am here now to extol the joys of sharing your home with those with physical difficulties and special needs.

Bill R. Cedar Hill, New Mexico

Anonymous
Aztec, NM

The saving of Steve

I was on my job as a telephone company technician and had just finished a job at an apartment building near Ocean Beach, Ca. when 3 young boys ran up to me for some help. They had found a kitten and stuck him in a running clothes dryer in the apts. laundry room. They ran out and the door locked behind them. I used my screwdriver to pry open the door and free the frightened kitten. He immediately ran out to the parking lot and into the engine compartment of a parked car and became stuck. We searched for the owner but ended up having to open the window with a coat hanger to get to the hood latch and once again I freed him. He was covered with grease and after biting me, he ran up a tree and out on a very small limb. Once again he was hanging on for dear life. I got out my ladder and this time stuck him in my canvas bag. Luckily, it was the end of my shift and he came home with me. We took him to the vet and got him fixed and his shots up to date. This guy has become the most awesome cat in the world. His persona is pure love. That was 14 years ago & he is still amazing in every way. This is our Steve. We call him our Love Cat.

Kyle R Stuart
Sun City, CA

The Stray Alleycat

I work as a cocktail waitress in a bar that backs up to an alley and a courtyard. I was taking a break out back and I hear one of the kitchen guys say "Hey Kayla! There's a kitten down here!" Everyone who works there knows I like cats because they've seen me convince the older ferals that frequent the alley to allow me to scratch behind their ears or under their chin. I looked down the alley and sure enough there was a kitten, about six or seven weeks old just meandering up and down the alley. I could tell from far away that he was limping and part of his ear was missing (I later learned he had been caught, neutered, and released so they clipped his ear). I approached the kitten and he would run just a little further away with each approach. Eventually he sprinted away and ran underneath some of the coolers near the back of the restaurant. I reached underneath one of the coolers and dragged the little kitten out. He was terrified and struggled but as soon as I held him against my chest he snuggled right in. I placed him under a milk crate and sprinted upstairs to tell my manager. He allowed me to keep the kitten in our "greenroom" where no patrons go, so I kept him there until the end of the shift and then took him home. One of my coworkers has a girlfriend who loves cats and lived a block away so she ran home to grab some food for him for during the shift because he was starving. I could feel his bones and he was covered in fleas. I soon realized that the bottoms of two of his paws were burned, probably from stepping on some hot metal. I took him to the vet the next day and other than the slight malnourishment, fleas, and burns he was a healthy kitten. I decided to name him O'Malley after the alley cat in Aristocats. Today, about a year later, O'Malley is a rambunctious, mischievous, little cuddle-monster.

Kayla
Columbus, GA

Patches the Hand-Me-Down

Patches is a hand-me-down cat, a very sweet but not very smart calico. Her first owners named her Lollipop, and gave her up for adoption at a year old. Her second owners, who happened to be friends of my brother's, renamed her Patches and had her declawed. They also didn't treat her very well. My brother moved in with them and the first time I met Patches, she was covered in matted fur, and was timid and attention-starved. She bit my mother the first time Mom tried to pet her. Every time I visited, I told her, "If I could, I would take you home and love you." Eventually, my brother's friends had to move and they gave him Patches, because she was "too much work".

In 2009, my brother had to move to an apartment that didn't allow pets. So for Patches (and her adopted sister, Miw), it was either take her to the shelter, or take her home with me. For me, there was only one choice. I loaded them up and took them straight home. My stepfather didn't want "another cat", let alone two, but ironically, he's Patches's favourite person in the world now. Today, she's a blissfully happy cat, very outgoing and affectionate, the most cuddly cat I've ever met. I managed to keep my promise: she's very content and adored in her fur-ever home, where she's queen of the house.

Marianna R
Provo, UT
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